Picture this—a tall, lone figure stands watching his cattle graze, in a remote part of Kenya. Suddenly this majestic Massai warrior produces a cellphone from the folds of his shuka and checks it. He quickly rounds up his herd to move them to a safer grazing land. He has just received notice via his mobile Wildlife Tracker System that a predator was earlier spotted in the area. As he disappears in the distance, it becomes clear that cellphones have penetrated even the most hard-to-access areas in the world and are changing lives in unimaginable ways.
Cellphones are the world’s most popular wireless devices. This statement is supported by the statistical projection of the International Telecommunications Agency (ITU). According to them, by early 2014, cellular penetration will be 100% globally. Yes, this year will see a jaw-dropping 7 billion cellphone subscriptions—a number that will overtake the global population figure. In other words, there will be more cellphones than there are people on the planet.
This ubiquity of cellphones is expected, considering the massive socio-economic impact they have on our world. This indispensible device is transforming our lives, changing our perceptions and challenging the norm as we know it. Business houses are no longer bounded by walls and banks have set up virtual tellers in our homes via smartphones. We have 24-hour nursing assistance at the touch of a button and we carry our doctors in our pockets. Creativity is literally in our hands and instant information is at our fingertips. We take it for granted that if there’s a problem to be solved, there’s a cellphone app to solve it. Cellphones connect us like never before. They have pervaded every part of our world, from the language we speak to the expectations of how things should function.
40 years ago, on 3 April 1973, when Marty Cooper, a Motorola employee, made a triumphant call from midtown Manhattan to rival firm Bell Labs in New Jersey, the phone he used weighed 1.1 kilograms and was 23 cm long, 13 cm deep and 4.45 cm wide. This historic prototype that took 10 hours to charge was the world’s first mobile phone. Cellphones have made rapid strides since then, morphing over time into a device that weighs less than 150 grams and fits into a pocket. With so many people who check their cellphones before greeting their families in the morning, it’s safe to say that the cellphone revolution has left its mark.
Cheers to the most used gadget today! Do you agree to the view above or feel that dependence on mobile phones is detrimental to the emotional connect between people? Share your views with us in the comments section below.